5 Surprising Ways Your Dentist Helps You Be Healthy
It’s common knowledge that dentists help you to keep your mouth healthy by providing thorough preventative cleanings, early detection of cavities or gum disease, and prompt treatment of any issues that may arise. While this is certainly a major and important part of dentists’ jobs, they do so much more to help you live a long, healthy life. Here are just a few ways that a dentist helps you be healthy.
Dentist Visits Aren’t Just for Your Teeth
1. Oral Cancer Screenings
Just like any other part of your body, you can develop cancer in your mouth. It can appear on your lips, cheek, hard and soft palate, tongue, the floor of your mouth, and in your throat. If you don’t find and treat oral cancer early, it can be life-threatening or even terminal. Thankfully, dentists work hard to mitigate this threat by screening patients for oral cancer during routine dental visits.
You may not notice that Dr. Alhadef is doing this simply because it seems so normal. Oral cancer normally appears as sores, tissue discolorations, or lumps that won’t go away, so Dr. Alhadef looks for these signs. He may also feel the tissues of your cheeks or the outside of your throat to check for lumps. This makes your dentist your first line of defense against oral cancer. Your regular dental appointments will allow Dr. Alhadef to spot any potential problems early, allowing for prompt testing and treatment.
2. Snoring Treatment
Snoring is the result of your airway becoming partially blocked. If you snore regularly, it’s often due to the soft tissues of your throat partially collapsing or your tongue falling back to obstruct your airway. This can negatively affect the quality of sleep that you get on a nightly basis, causing you to become fatigued during the day. Constant fatigue is unpleasant to say the least, but it also increases your risk of getting in a car accident or making mistakes at work—which can be just as dangerous as a car accident if you work with heavy machinery.
CPAP machines are a common treatment for sleep apnea, but they’re bulky, expensive, and take a lot of maintenance. Dentists offer several treatments as alternatives to a CPAP machine, which work to prevent your airway from closing. There are different types of snoring appliances, and which one will work for you depends upon what causes your airway to close. They can make all the difference in your everyday life, improving your health and your mood, and keeping you safer while you go about your day.
3. TMD Treatment
TMJ pain is serious and can often feel inescapable, as we use our temporomandibular joint for everything, from speaking and eating to swallowing. Pain in your TMJ can make any of these actions difficult and painful, affecting your everyday life on a huge scale and quickly becoming disheartening. Dentists have a number of ways that they can treat your TMD, however, from over-the-counter pain medications and physical therapy to nightguards, which prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth at night. If your TMJ pain is caused by a misaligned bite, neuromuscular dentistry can be used to correct your bite and reduce or eliminate your pain.
4. Reduced Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Your mouth doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Although we often think of it as separate, your oral health affects the health of your entire body. The work that Dr. Alhadef does to treat and protect against tooth decay and gum disease actually improves your health on a deeper level for years to come. The bacteria from periodontitis can get into your bloodstream, causing endocarditis (an infection in your heart), and unhealthy teeth and gums may increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. In addition to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, getting regular treatment at our office helps you to avoid these increased risks—keeping your entire body healthier for longer.
5. Stress Relief
Dealing with constant issues, from fatigue caused by sleep apnea to pain from cavities or TMDs, can cause a lot of stress. In addition to being draining, this stress can affect your day-to-day life, making it harder to concentrate on everyday tasks—let alone work—and possibly straining your relationships if you begin to snap in frustration. Erasing the pain or discomfort that is causing your stress can come as a huge relief, allowing you to relax and live your life without having to give your teeth or jaw a second thought. You can rest easy, knowing that Dr. Alhadef is working hard to spot any potential issues with your oral health early in order to give you the best treatment results possible.
Dental treatment can change your health for the better in a surprising number of ways. While dentists do focus on your oral health, they also consider your health as a whole, taking it into account as they treat you, and working hard to keep you both mentally and physically healthy.